Port Elizabeth – Despite reports of the Eastern Cape Provincial government killing the Small, Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises (SMME’s) in the province there is a glimmer of hope for the enterprises in the Bay.
The Coega Development Cooperation (CDC) held a Supplier Development day focused on “Creating Connections, Building Bridges for Success” amongst small business owners in the bay this Thursday.
The one-day event held at the Coega Vulindlela Accommodation conference centre allowed for small business owners to network with each other, interact with stakeholders essential for their growth and development as SMMEs.
Present were many stake-holders that are of asstance to SMME’s, National Treasury covering the legal aspects of SMME ownership, South African Revenue Service, SEDA, The B-BBEE Commission, Shanduka Black Umbrellas and many others.
“We wanted to create an environment where SMMEs can engage, interact, gain information and also as CDC (SMME Development Unit) get to learn from key stake-holders that are here and also gain information on how to improve ourselves,” said CDC SMME Programme Manager, Unathi Maholwana.
SMME’s contribute to just under 40% of the economy and according to the National Development plan in less than 10 years’ time SMME’s will contribute to new jobs by 90%.
Despite all these findings a SMME owner, who did not want to be named, detailed a meeting where a company, she refused to name, had called earlier this week to announce a need for a cleaning tender. She said the venue was too full and the tender briefing had to be held outside. “Siyalamba, sonke sifuna uncedo but kukho icorruption [we are all desperate for work but there is too much corruption], if the people handling tenders were not corrupt then we would all be fine,” said the business owner.
Another business owner cited lack of support from the government departments and the private business sector as one of the major failures of SMME’s.
Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) Provincial Manager, Mr Siphiwo Soga, also appealed to the private sector to assist SMMEs. “Big entities are not committing to working with SMME’s and are not signing [Memorandums of Understanding] (MOU) with them and this is one of the biggest downfalls of SMME’s” said Soga.
Coega’s Maholwane insisted that change is coming as more money will be invested in SMME’s in the bay.
“In terms of CDC we have a number of projects, within the IDZ and outside the IDZ. Outside of the IDZ we deem those projects as programs and they run across the country and what we do in all the areas we have projects in, we comply to the CDC Compulsory SMME target that runs through the 5-year strategic plan of the organisation which is to get more than 35% of SMME involvement,” added Maholwane.
Finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, also announced that R2.1 billion has been allocated to support the start-up of SMME’s as well as an additional fund of about R1.4-billion to support high- potential SMME’s.